Skip to main content


Sometimes life comes at one a bit fast with interesting results. The Holiday season is coming and a house full of visitors are due. We are a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-gender, multi-racial family and it all takes a bit of organizing. So it was that we moved things around and cleared closets to accommodate their kit. As a result I discovered a valuable nautical collection, - but one digresses. On getting my British 2nd. Mates Certificate of Competency and starting to sail as a full-time Deck Officer I decided to head for New Zealand.
In those days the Union Steamship Company of NZ had three and then two year contracts. Quite often the idea was to join a new vessel in UK and take it from the builders yard to NZ then remain until completing the contract term. In my case there was not a vessel ready and so the USSCo. sent me out as a passenger in the TSS "Rangitiki" of the New Zealand Shipping Company. As you can imagine one was quite disappointed in not being able to work delivering a ship!! So there I was, lying about the decks of one of the worlds best passenger ships of the 1950's British Merchant Navy. Complete with a live bugler to pipe meal times and other activities such as Boat Drill, ah! such suffering! Six weeks of steaming from London, down The Channel across the South Atlantic, through the Caribbean refuel at Curacao and on to transit the then US Panama Canal. Across the Pacific Ocean via Tahiti, a Pitcairn call and then early one morning anchoring for clearance in Auckland, NZ.
Once ashore we were met by the USSCo. shore staff and I was assigned to the Wellington, NZ office. This meant a night train journey down the North Island ready to join the TSS "Tamahine" at noon next day. So it was that my journey to what became a fifty (50) year career at sea continued on this beautiful little passenger ship. She served as the link between Wellington on the North Island across the Cook Strait to Picton on the South Island. We crossed Southbound one afternoon and Northbound the next, carrying passengers, PMG mail, and a handful of cargo.
But what on earth has all this to do with cleaning my home office closet this weekend. If any of you have been fortunate enough to visit New Zealand you will know it is a stunningly beautiful country. So it was that I bought a camera and started a collection of photos which is what I found in a storage box in the office closet. I photographed in Kodak 35mm and there are nine reels of slides fortunately all carefully identified, - sometimes I amaze myself. They cover the years 1959 to 1968 all together total around 800 slides and those checked appear in good condition.
My plan now is to transfer them onto both the hard drive and CD's and Post those of general interest on NAUTICAL LOG. If anyone out there has information or guidance of how this is done I would be most grateful. Here is some valuable nautical history which we can all enjoy. One set covers a two year voyage in a British, Andrew Weir Bank Line, breakbulk cargo ship with heavylift capability a 100 tonne and a 50 tonne boom. We had British officers and "lascar" crew. Those were the Indian and Pakistani crewmembers with whom we had Chinese carpenters and fitters. As things turned out we were the last generation of this very common system in the British Merchant Navy.
If all goes well look for some Posts on these most likely in the New Year of 2009. If the results turn out to a good standard it might be worthwhile publishing a book of photos of a life at sea gone forever.
Good Watch.


Popular posts from this blog


A popular U.S.-based cruise ship style
A popular European ferry style

Several times during the year NAUTICAL LOG has had visitors searching for lifejacket instructions. With two just over Christmas we decided to publish something for everybody to see and read.
Choose a Coast Guard approved life-jacket and make sure it is undamaged. Make sure life-jackets are readily accessible, never locked away. Check the fit, there are adult, child and infant sizes, the correct one MUST be used. Choose bright colour life-jackets so as to be seen easily by Search and Rescue (SAR).Put your life-jacket ON BEFORE you leave the berth. Make sure you have a light and whistle attached AND they BOTH WORK.
Good Watch


Ships now operate under the International Management Code for Safe Operation of Ships and for Pollution Prevention (ISM Code).  Since this is a Post on Auditing NAUTICAL LOG, who is a Trained Auditor, will not go through the requirements as these can be found on the Internet and in your local nautical bookshop - you do have a bookshop hopefully as they are a dying breed.  There are two types of Audit an External Audit and an Internal Audit.

The External Audit consists of the Flag State or an outside Auditing Firm coming into the Company and going through all the Protocols, Procedures and associated Manuals.  They may also hold a drill simulating a situation in one of the Company's vessels and observe the results of the Shore Staff dealing with it.  NAUTICAL LOG has been through this experience with two very different Companies and believe me it is a long, difficult, trying day not made any easier by the subsequent debrief.  The External Auditor then prepares a Report which causes a…


This month saw the commissioning into the Irish Naval Service of a new Class of Irish Naval vessel more of the Frigate size than the previously Corvette size.  However they are all classed as Patrol vessels, the new vessel is LÉ Samuel Beckett P61.NAUTICAL LOG wishes her well and a successful service.

The older vessels saw unbelievable service and value for money the first being commissioned in 1979 and continued through the '80's and 90's into the 21st. Century.  During those years in addition to patrolling the stormy seas around the rugged Irish coast they made passages across the Western Ocean to the United States and Canada, south to South America as far as Argentina, and east to Asia as far as Korea.  Such passages are really remarkable for such small vessels and show the competence of Irish seafarers who as Naval Officers and Merchant Marine Officers train together.

Good Watch.